STEM Preparatory Academy operates two schools serving the South Nashville region. The first school, STEM Prep Middle, was chartered in 2010 and serves 400 students. Our second school, chartered in 2014, is STEM Prep High and opens with its inaugural class of 9th grade students in August 2015.
STEM Prep is dedicated to delivering a rigorous, 21st Century education with an integrated curricular focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. By cultivating a community of learning and academic excellence, STEM Prep will bolster the number of underrepresented students who successfully complete advanced-level high school coursework and attain college degrees. Graduates of STEM Prep will become persistent and steadfast problem-solvers, active leaders in the community, and highly engaged and empathetic citizens of the world.
In steadfast support of our students and families, STEM Preparatory Academy is founded upon and firmly committed to three core beliefs. These core beliefs underpin STEM Prep’s design and daily execution of our mission.
I. Every child deserves a rigorous, college preparatory education delivered by highly effective teachers.
II. A culture of accountability and high expectations develops learners and leaders.
III. Excellent schools are deeply and broadly tied to the communities they serve.
In executing our mission, STEM Prep students will (1) master basic skills in literacy and mathematics; (2) strengthen critical thinking skills through inquiry-based and problem-based learning; (3) rigorously prepare for, access, and complete advanced-level high school coursework and college; and (4) engage and lead peers in responsible, self-directed living typified by honor, integrity, and generosity of spirit.
Why STEM Prep?
STEM Prep is Nashville’s first dedicated college preparatory STEM school. As stated in our mission, STEM Prep provides a college preparatory, standards-based education with an integrated focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
When the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools Board of Education approved STEM Prep to open in Fall 2011, it praised the commitment of STEM Prep’s leadership and its innovative academic model:
“The STEM prep academic plan combines with the basic components of a high quality, college‐oriented middle school whose focus on the whole child sets the stage for the sustained interests and engagement in academics that are essential in reducing dropouts and building personal aspirations for the students in the school. The power of the STEM focus in this school design lies in its ability to supplement and expand the curriculum of a high achieving charter school, and the STEM‐oriented industry leaders in Nashville whose participation in the unique STEM‐challenges and other aspects of the curriculum make this model unique.
The focus on STEM education, the engagement of real world practitioners, and the commitment to the children and families in the community establish this proposal as innovative and capable of providing real choices at a high quality level for students and families.”
The STEM Prep Approach and Curriculum
Our approach uses STEM to engage students in inquiry- and standards-based learning, balanced with direct instruction to ensure mastery of basic skills, particularly in literacy and mathematics. STEM Prep teaches all traditional subjects including English, Social Studies, Science, Mathematics, and the Fine Arts, and all of our courses are based on national and state content standards. In addition to teaching traditional subjects, however, we integrate STEM education throughout the curriculum. It is the common thread or touchstone in everything we do.
STEM education aims to engage students’ natural curiosity and creative talent as they develop the ability to problem solve, reason, invent, innovate, and hypothesize. These critical thinking skills are not exclusive to the STEM subjects; they are indeed transferable and desirable performance objectives in all content areas. The critical thinking and problem solving skills learned through STEM education are required for success in high school, college, and work.
The STEM Prep classroom is an exciting and lively place – where every student will be encouraged to get creative, think out loud, ask questions, share with other students and make new discoveries. Students work alongside teachers, scientists, engineers, university professors and local business leaders to solve real-world problems. Students who attend have unique opportunities to learn from the experts and gain awareness of the many college and career pathways related to STEM.
STEM Prep is Nashville's first dedicated STEM school offering a fully integrated, college preparatory curriculum with a specialized focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.